COVID-19 UPDATE: Visa Waiver Travelers Now Have Another Option if They Cannot Leave on Time
On March 30, 2020, we wrote about “satisfactory departure” in COVID-19: How Does the Outbreak Affect Visa Waiver (ESTA) Travelers? As we explained, visitors to the US who arrive under the Visa Waiver program who cannot depart within 90 days due to the pandemic may request a 30-day “satisfactory departure” period from US Customs & Border Protection by email.
On April 13, 2020, US Citizenship & Immigration Services announced it would begin taking requests for satisfactory departure by phone while its local field offices remain closed during COVID-19. Visa Waiver travelers who wish to use this option should call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283. USCIS has also said it can grant a second 30-day period of satisfactory departure if circumstances warrant.
US Customs & Border Protection also continues to grant satisfactory departure, as we reported on March 30.
Receiving satisfactory departure, whether it is granted by CBP or by USCIS, protects a traveler’s eligibility to continue using the Visa Waiver program in the future, as long as the visitor does leave within the required additional period of stay.